On Monday, the day before IMEX America 2015 began with
- 2 keynotes
- 4 half day "deep dives"
- about thirty 1 - 1 1/2 hour concurrent sessions
The full day of educational content was presented through Smart Monday, powered by MPI, followed a breakfast for hosted buyers that was sponsored by Park City, UT.
Three Meeting Centric "back-of-the-house" tours of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo were provided.
Inspirational speaker Lee Papa presented the opening keynote entitled How to Live and Lead Mindfully. Key take-aways for a less stressful career and personal life included cancelling out negative talk and self-limiting beliefs, carving out time to relax, cultivating an attitude of gratitude, living in the now, and embracing change. Participants were taken through relaxation exercises.
Deep dives provided an opportunity to explore content in depth. They included:
- LinkedIn MBA (Meetings and Business Accelerator) School, sponsored by Mexico Tourism
- Collaborating to Meet Better Greener and Kinder, sponsored by GMIC
- Understanding Difficult Contract Clauses, sponsored by San Francisco Travel
- AV Demystified, presented by Brandt Krueger, Event Technology Consulting
This year, more advanced topics, appealing to veteran event planners, were presented. Concurrent session were jam-packed with such useful information and tips as
- Revenue Management Need-to-Know for Event Planners by Bob Gilber, President & CEO., HSMAI
- Selling to the Incentive Market, presented by Bent Hadler, President. Hadler, DMC
- Managing Incentive Travel Programs, sponsored by SITE
- Meetings Outlook, presented highlights from MPI's Meeting Outlook which replaces Business Barometer. Highlights included:
- corporate profits are at an all time high but this has not translated into a significant increase in business spend.
- the fun has returned to meetings....the sizzle is back
- doing more with slightly less is a priority
- CSR initiatives with community volunteerism is on the rise.
Navigating Internationals Cs: Culture, Contracts, and Currencies by John Foster Esq. provided a wealth of information for negotiating contracts overseas.
Specific business etiquette and practical suggestions were presented for China, Japan, India, France, and Latin America.
Bonnie Wallsh, Chief Strategist, Bonnie Wallsh Associates presented two exceptional and highly interactive sessions:
- Solutions for Doing More with Less covered 101+ cost saving ideas for event planners. Bonnie identified 7 common budgeting mistakes that meeting and event planners make including not building a contingency into the budget and failing to include tax and service charges in the budget.
Specific tips included:
- limit the number of people with signing authority
- use entertainers and celebrities who are already schedule to be in town for other events
- examine speaker and celebrity riders carefully
- work with the chef to customize a menus that fit your budget instead of from printed menus.
- Optimizing Your Food and Beverage Budget
The session began with hands-on preparation of Old Fashioned with bourbon supplied by Louisville, Kentucky CVB. It offered practical tips for saving on food and beverage costs and highlighted hot food and beverage trends:
- ethnic inspired appetizers
- quinoa and couscous
- bite-sized mini-desserts
Lunch for hosted buyers was sponsored by Myrtle Beach Area CVB. Leadership trainer Dan Markin delivered a brief and practical keynote inspiring event planners to deal with challenging situations in the same way they select tomatoes. "Put the best of what's available in your cart and move on."
The Smart Monday Buyer Reception was sponsored by Grapevine and Irving CVBs.
Photo Credit: Anne Thornley-Brown, Executive Oasis International